Like Facebook and Twitter before it, Foursquare is the newest social media tool riding a wave of buzz these days. Foursquare, Gowalla and MyTown are part of the growing trend of location-based mobile applications. Generally speaking, Foursquare uses GPS technology to allow users to âcheck inâ to the places they frequent â whether it be a restaurant, shop or other local business. This information is then shared with the userâs circle of friends.
Foursquare now tops 1.2 million people who have âchecked inâ 40 million times. But why should your business be paying attention to Foursquare?
1. Foursquare creates free advertising opportunities for local businesses. At its most basic, Foursquare is really all about businesses in your area â where people eat, drink and shop. This creates huge opportunities for businesses to increase their reach. When a user is near a participating business and logs in to Foursquare, the app alerts the user of the business’ deals and might even send a coupon directly to his smartphone.
2. Foursquare is catching on with major brands … Itâs hard to ignore a trend that every major company from Starbucks to Dominoâs Pizza to the Wall Street Journal to the Bravo television network is embracing. These brands and many more are buying into the geolocation craze early, citing the possibilities for content marketing, brand loyalty and more.
3. … but smaller businesses also benefit from the service … For many users, Foursquare is a welcome reminder of all the sometimes-overlooked eateries and shops that donât have the big advertising budgets to catch their attention on a daily basis. Users can search Foursquare for unique, off-the-beaten-path places, even checking for tips left by others whoâve been there before.
4. Foursquare allows customers to advertise their loyalty. Foursquare builds in rewards for loyal customers. Competition is often fierce among users to become the âMayorâ of a venue â a feat achieved by checking in at a location more often than anyone else. As the network grows, more businesses are catching on and providing perks to Mayors and frequent visitors, thus generating more good word-of-mouth for the small price of a free soft drink or dessert. Itâs the online equivalent of a loyalty card â with added cache.
5. Foursquare turns users into viral marketers for the places they like. Not only do location-based applications provide a platform for businesses to market to customers, they also turn users into influential voices for the places they discover or frequent. Foursquare features tips and âto-doâ lists any user can create, which serve to champion local businesses.